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Random Readalouds for Preschoolers

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 This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Bryne

When Bella takes her dog for a walk, strange and unusual things happen. This is one of the best read aloud books ever.

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Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

When a duck decides to ride a bike, the barnyard animals have various reactions until they all have a chance to ride for themselves. Children love the silly illustrations.. The large pictures make this a good choice for a large group of children.

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The Super Hungry Dinosaur by Martin Waddell

Hal and his dog Billy save his family from the super hungry dinosaur. The dinosaur apologizes for his rude behavior and then stays for dinner.

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Lola at the Library-Anna McQuinn

Lola looks forward to Tuesday when she and her mom visit the library, attend story time, choose books and have a snack. The special day ends with a bedtime story.

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Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie.   Toot and Puddle live together in Woonsock Pocket.  Toot loves to travel but Puddle is a homebody.  Toot travels around the word sending postcards back to his best buddy.   They reunite in December when Toot return. This is the same Holly Hobbie of the bigheaded dolls but her pigs are infinitely cuter.  Don’t be surprised if you like this better than your children.  Try to avoid the cheaper knockoffs by National Geographic Press based on the TV show.  These are usually done by other authors.  National Geographic Press does an amazing job with nonfiction but these books are a poor imitation of Hobbie’s books.

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The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort, illustrated by Brian Karas

In this great sing along to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus,   Noisy animals board the bus.  All goes well until the skunks arrive.

 

 

 

 

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Why Audiobooks?

About 10 years ago,  I fell in love with audiobooks.  I felt torn because I had adult books I wanted to read and prize winning children’s books that also deserved my attention.  Audiobooks became part of the solution!   I began looking forward to my time in the car.

Audiobooks can be enjoyed by the whole family. Consider taking them along on your next road trip. For this post, I have selected audiobooks that families can enjoy listening to together.

On the Reading Rockets Website, Denise Johnson lists these benefits of listening to audiobooks.

  • Introduce students to books above their reading level
  • Model good interpretive reading
  • Teach critical listening
  • Highlight the humor in books
  • Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
  • Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
  • Sidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents, Old English, and old-fashioned literary styles
  • Provide a read-aloud model
  • Provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting to sporting events, music lessons, or on vacations
  • Recapture “the essence and the delights of hearing stories beautifully told by extraordinarily talented storytellers” (Baskin & Harris, 1995, p. 376)http://www.readingrockets.org/article/benefits-audiobooks-all-readers

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The Harry Potter books are among other things, hilarious, but never more so when they are narrated by Jim Dale who creates over 200 voices and special effects for all the wizards, muggles, goblins and house elfs that pass through Hogwarts.  The Harry Potter volumes are among the top selling audiobooks of all time.  Children who have already read these books will notice things they missed.

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Country music singer and actor, Lyle Lovett, brings  Kathi Appelt’s adventure tale, The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp to life.  Two raccoon scouts, Bingo and J’miah are trained to wake the Sugarman, a Yeti like creature, in the event of trouble.  And trouble is coming!  Jaeger Stitch, world-class alligator wrestler, plans to turn the peaceful swamp into to the world’s tackiest theme park. To make matters worse, a gang of feral hogs are headed  toward the swamp.   Lovett has the perfect southern drawl. This story will appeal to a wide range of ages.

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I raved over Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan’s Echo in an earlier post. (https://librarianlou.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/for-music-and-history-lovers-2/) This recording helps complete the book.  The harmonica pieces are printed in each section, but its not the same as hearing the music which will be more familiar to  parents than their children.

In the section set in Nazi Germany, the heavy but clear German accents are vital in creating the characters of evil Nazi leaders as well as the kind voices of Frederich’s father and uncle.  Dialogue that looks confusing in print will be clearer in the audio version.  Echo won the 2016 Newbery Honor Award and the audiobook won one of two 2016 Odyssey Awards for outstanding productions in children’s recordings.

Don’t let the costs of audiobooks discourage you.  Many are available at the public library. Services like Audible are also making these books more accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diverse Books-What we really need!

There is a big movement within the library community called “We Need Diverse Books.”

If I were leading the movement, I would call it,  “We need more diverse books that children like.”   We have many award winning multicultural books that lack child appeal.

 Award winning books are often what librarians call “shelf sitters.”  They will be purchased by books sellers and librarians but not read much.  They are the brussels sprouts of the library’s book collection. (I remember the first time I enjoyed Brussels sprouts, it was last Thanksgiving at cousin Jane’s.)

 We  need  contemporary books about multicultural children.  Since I find it hardest to find diverse books for our youngest readers, I have chosen four books for preschoolers and primary students:

51007CEiUpL._SX442_BO1,204,203,200_Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn, begins with Lola, her pregnant mom, and dad sharing a bedtime story. When her new brother is born, Lola picks out a special book for Leo. Dad shows Lola how to hold the baby. Lola delights in being a big sister helping her mom by running errands and attempting to entertain the baby. It ends with the new family gathered on the sofa for a bedtime story. Rosalind Beard’s illustrations are delightful.

 

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Big Red Lollipop by  Rukhsana Khan is a story about Arab  Americans in  Canada.

Rubina is delighted when she is invited to a birthday party. Birthdays aren’s part of her family’s tradition. She sulks when her mother insists she must take her younger sister along. At the party, Rubina is the only one with her little sister in tow. Sana embarrases her when she cries during musical chairs.  She is not invited to another party for a long time.

Several years later when Sana receives a birthday invitation, Her mother insists that she take her youngest sister, Maryam. Rubina steps in and takes Sana’s side winning her younger sister’s admiration. This book is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Sophie Blackall, winner of the Caldecott Award.  I love her signature use of colorful patterns.

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In Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, Grace loves stories of all kinds.  When her class begins planning a production of Peter Pan, Grace plans to audition for Peter. A classmate informs her she’s can be Peter because she’s a girl. Another declares that Grace can’t be Peter because she’s black. Grace’s mom and aunt encourage Grace to try out. Her Nana takes her to see a ballerina from Trinidad.  Grace auditions and amazes her classmates when she performs as Peter Pan.

untitled (2)In Splash, Anna Hibiscus, we meet Anna and her extended  family spending a day at an African  beach.

Everyone is busy at the beach but no one wants to get wet.  Her grandparents are reading the newspaper. Mama and the aunties are braiding their hair. Her female cousins are playing in the sand, the boys play soccer. Only Anna Hibiscus wants to go swimming.  In the end, we see a loving extended family enjoying themselves in the waves.

Children of many cultures have enjoyed these delightful stories of childhood.  We need more diverse books like these.

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Oscar Who Wasn’t Ordinary

 

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“For little snails with big dreams”-The Daily Ooze

Oscar Slimeglider is bored with sleeping all day, eating all night and looking dull.. He dreams of fame, adoration and good looks.. Unfortunately, Oscar lacks talent for singing, dancing or playing the guitar. He’s also a boring greenish-grayish-brownish color.

His only hope for fame appears to be his Fairy Godsnail. So he summons her:

Slime, Slime!

Slither, slither!

Fairy Godsnail, please come hither!

In typical fairy fashion, his Fairy Godsnail appears and grants him three wishes.   Unfortunately the wishes bring him nothing but trouble.

There is much to like about Ordinary Oscar. The illustrations are colorful and amusing. The reader will want to read this book several times if only to absorb all the jokes and puns.

Oscar lives at 16 Slug Street. He has twenty-six brothers and sister (Agnes, Bernard, Cornelius, Destiny, Electra, Fifi…) His mother, Gertrude, is expecting sixty eggs.  The dialogue includes phrases like “Slime my autograph book” and “He’s really coming out of his shell.”

Sam Hearn, the illustrator, adds lots of comic touches. The snail’s home is decorated with clever art pieces all featuring colorful snails. The Wise Od Snail is surrounded by books like “A Concise History of Slime” and “Mother Ooze’s Nursery Slimes.”

I have to give credit to the team of Laura Adkins and Sam Hearn for making even snails attractive and entertaining.  Preschoolers will enjoy this simple story. Older children will appreciate the humorous touches.  I recommend this book for children in kindergarten through third grade.

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SMILE!

images5PYIMJNP     Let’s face it. Middle School is traumatic! Middle schoolers think eveyone notices everything they do. Classmates can be cruel. Anything that makes you differrent from your classmates feels like torture.

Smile by Raina Telemeier is an autobiographical graphic novel chronicling the ups and downs of middle school and high school, a tough season for any adolescent especially if there’s something that sets you apart from your classmates.

At age 12, Raina fell on the pavement resulting in losing her two front teeth. Six year olds with missing front teeth are adorable, twelve years olds not so much. Raina’s life for the next four years includes dental surgeries, trips to specalists and two sets of braces.Most of all, she feels different from her classmates. Her story also navigates crushes, friendships and other teen drama.

Smile encourages the reader to laugh and sympathize with Raina’s recollections. When she spies her crush in the hall, she is so enamored that she walks right into a row of lockers.  When she tries on extensive headgear for her braces, She exclaims, “C’mom Mom, let’s go get me some glasses, a pocket protector and some velcro shoes.”

Raina begins her story with sixth grade and ends in high school. Along the way, she learns to chose her friends more carefully and pursue her talents for drawing and singing. She gradually settles in with a new group of artsy friends that are kinder, more authentic and accepting.

Kids love graphic novels.  Teachers and librarians are increasingly realizing the benefits of this genre.  Smile, however, is an exceptional graphic novel.  It won the Wil Eisner Award for best books for teens.  Telgemeier has published two other graphic novels, Drama and Sisters.  Fans of her books can create their own comic scenes at www.scholastic.com/raina

 

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